Friday, March 25, 2011

Face it....

It has only been about 18 months since I began drawing the human face (realistically anyway…) and what a joy it has been to explore the relationship between God’s work and technology.  Okay, the ability to figure out technology is also God’s work, usually followed by the “D” word for those of us who grew up on electric typewriters and darkroom development, but it still amazes me when I figure it out.

Recently I completed part one of my grant for Arts in Stark by drawing children at the Illuminarts festival. I had a blog written about that event, but my editor won’t allow me to post it because Snarky is not Snippy or Snide so I passed on posting the post. Children are the hardest of images to draw. They have no wrinkles, no tonal discolorations, and little wisdom in the eyes plus they don’t sit still very well. Some adults can’t sit still either but I can still chastise them without fear of tears. I use events such as this to keep my hand to eye coordination skills sharp and for basic drawing practice. Last year’s Illuminarts lead to my having the confidence to attempt the larger portraits that became the series of Fascinating Faces from Interesting Places.

Some of the Fascinating Faces are now at the local Arts in Stark offices and one is on exhibit behind them in the Art Museum for a group show. I know this, but did not expect to find a few of them looking back at me from the internet.  An event at A in S posted on FB shows the employees standing in front of my work. Nothing unusual about that, but the fun part is looking at the expressions in my drawings as they relate to the activity at hand. On the Museum website regarding the group show, one of my faces is used to promote the show. I hear that a couple of pieces in the Cleveland show are viewer favorites too. All well and good right?; locally, yes. As far as competition goes, I have discovered a dilemma. It seems that to have a piece published one must have written permission of the person depicted in the work for the use of their image. At least that is the issue I faced this week in exploring the possibility of getting some of the Faces into print in a book about drawing.

Catch-22….. the faces are captured without people knowing that their picture is being taken as such images make for the best expressions.  There is no way I could walk up to a stranger with a release form and say “Hey, I just got a great shot of you looking like an uber dork! Would you sign this paper giving me permission to share it with the world?”  Call me cynical, but I don’t think the reply would be pleasant. Heck, I even get flipped off just standing on a corner with my camera by my waist pretending to adjust the settings. 

But back to technology and children, or children’s faces, which need a boost with some Dr. Adobe now and then. The original works are nice in my opinion, capturing features and expressions to the extent that a bored or sullen kid staring into space is capable of mustering up some spirit, but as far as being “artistic”, they lack the elements of art which make images visually exciting. No roadmap of wrinkles to follow, no twisted teeth or broken noses, no uneven eyebrows or thinning hairlines, no oversized ears or saggy jowls…the things I find fascinating to find in a face, the combinations of  which make us each uniquely human. When someone is expressive, there is life inside their eyes. When sitting for a portrait, often the eyes go blank. Holding a smile is nearly impossible so when drawing from life, most people look robotic. Therefore, this year’s Illuminarts portraits got doses of Dr. Adobe’s magical potions as I learned how to use the program on my computer. Yes, your kid may be cute, but he is a whole lot more interesting with a bit of magic from the drop down menu. 

Because of my continuing cold and the call of duty to head to Florida with the Scouts, I have and will miss many of the local shows on view. Anderson Creative still has “When We Were Young” for a few more days, and then opens “The Beautiful Corpse” next week. Kristine Wyler is on view (well, her work is on view) at the Fountain Gallery at Malone, “Celebration of Art” is at the Massillon Museum, Diane Belfiglio is still at the Butler (her work is there, she’s not….), 2nd April is opening a spectacular special exhibit of works by the late great David Grant Roth, and the Canton Artist League is on view at the Art Museum.  Get out there and enjoy some art!!

See the rest of the portfolio of Illuminarts Faces 2011 (that are completed as of now...) on my Facebook Page.

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